New York explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan ‘obviously an act of terrorism,’ : New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

September 19, 2016 4:42 am

Police and firefighters work near the scene of the explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, in . Photo / AP

Dozens of people were injured yesterday in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in an intentional bombing apparently caused by an improvised explosive device, authorities said.
Twenty-nine people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the blast, which occurred on the street, according to the New York Police Department.
Authorities confirmed that all 29 victims had been treated and released from hospitals Sunday morning (local time).
New York Governor , said that there is “no evidence of an international terrorism connection” in the explosion in Chelsea, though he stopped short of saying whoever caused the incident did not want to incite terror.

He said later: “This is the nightmare scenario.””It depends on your definition of terrorism,” Cuomo said. “A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism, but it’s not linked to international terrorism. In other words, we find no ISIS connections.”
Not long after the blast, police said they had found another possible explosive device just blocks away. This device appeared to be similar to a pressure cooker and had wiring on it, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation. Pressure cookers were used in the two bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon in 2013.
The bomb squad safety removed the second device, New York police tweeted.
Police officers, firefighters and other first responders had rushed to the scene of the blast, which closed a major roadway and forced people out of nearby buildings.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the explosion was “intentional,” but noted that few details were available because the investigation was in its early stages.
“We know there was a bombing,” de Blasio said. “We know it was a very serious incident, but we have a lot more work to do to be able to say what kind of motivation was behind this.”

He also echoed his earlier comments from that there was no specific, credible threat against New York from any terrorist group.
The FBI and NYPD are trying to understand what motivation lay behind the blast.
“We will look at individuals. We will look at associations. We will look at ,” William Sweeney, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Field Office said.
“Until we have that information it is not fair for to give a conclusion [as to motivation],” DeBlasio said. “Let the law enforcement experts draw the conclusions.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill, whose first day in the position was Saturday, told reporters on Sunday that police were still gathering evidence.
“We did find some components indicative of an IED. . . that went off intentionally,” O’Neill said.
The New York Police Department’s counterterrorism bureau responded to the explosion, along with officials with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
While O’Neill said authorities were still trying to determine what, precisely, exploded, the NYPD counterterrorism bureau posted a photo online showing what appeared to be a dumpster or garbage container mangled by a blast:
Police in New York also reported shortly after 11pm that they had found the “possible secondary device” a few blocks away from the Chelsea explosion scene, on 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Police directed people away from that intersection, and one officer could be heard telling pedestrians that “there is a possible explosive” in the area.

Not long after midnight, police said in a statement that they were asking people in the area of this potential explosive to move away from their windows “until we clear the suspicious package,” although officers did not fully evacuate the area.
According to the Associated Press, the second device was removed with a robot and taken to the department firing range in the Bronx.
Reports of another suspicious package at 28th Street and Fifth Avenue turned out to be a false alarm – the package was only garbage, J. Peter Donald, a police spokesman, posted on Twitter around 12.30am on Sunday.
The Chelsea explosion occurred about 11 hours after a pipe bomb exploded in a Jersey Shore garbage can, shortly before a scheduled charity 5K race there benefiting Marines and Navy sailors.
Authorities have said they have not yet found anything connecting the Chelsea and New Jersey incidents but are continuing to investigate.
On Sunday, Cuomo said the “bombs” in Chelsea “appear to be different” from those discovered earlier in the day in New Jersey, though the devices from both states were being shipped to the FBI lab in Quantico for further assessment. He said the devices in New Jersey were “pipe bombs,” and those in Chelsea were not. Cuomo said agents in New York were in touch with those in New Jersey.
Cuomo said officials “have no reason to believe at this time that there is any further immediate threat,” though the National Guard and the New York State Police were deploying an additional 1000 personnel to bus terminals, airports and subways “just to err on the side of caution”.
Cuomo said the blast in Chelsea “caused significant property damage,” though he a nearby subway station was structurally safe. He said law enforcement would work diligently to identify and locate those responsible.
“Whoever placed these bombs, we will find, and they will be brought to justice,” Cuomo said.
A spokeswoman for Lenox Health Greenwich Village, which treated nine of the victims, said patients were treated for minor injuries that included lacerations to the head and body. Other hospitals declined to provide specifics about the extent of patients’ injuries from the explosion.
Soleil Filomena, 64, was leaving a convenience store at Seventh Avenue and 23rd Street when she heard the explosion.
“It was so loud it just went through my whole body,” she said. “People started running up 23rd Street, and I started running with them.”
Filomena said she saw a “big black cloud in the sky.” After the explosion, she said her “ear was ringing for 15 minutes”.
When Keith Salomon of Delaware felt the explosion, he was having dinner a block and a half from the site of the blast. His chair and table shook, he said, and he saw people being taken away in ambulances.
“We didn’t know what it was and so, at first, we just kept eating,” said Salomon, 52, who was visiting his son in the city. “But then we realised something was wrong.”

Heavily armed police officers stand guard in the Armed Forces recruitment centre island in New York’s Time Square. Photo / AP


Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton issued a statement saying she strongly condemns what she characterised as “apparent terrorist attacks” in Minnesota, New Jersey and New York.
“Law enforcement officials are working to identify who was behind the attacks in New York and New Jersey, and we should give them the support they need to finish the job and bring those responsible to justice,” Clinton said, adding: “We will not rest until that happens.”
The former Secretary of State noted that Isis (Islamic State) had asserted responsibility for the stabbings of nine people inside a shopping centre in St Cloud, Minnesota, about 110km northwest of Minneapolis.
“This should steel our resolve to protect our country and defeat Isis and other terrorist groups,” Clinton said.

Clinton’s statement followed remarks to reporters on her campaign plane on Sunday in which she cautioned against rushing to conclusions about the attacks and criticised her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, for quickly telling an audience that an explosion in New York was a bomb that served as a reminder for the to “get very tough”.”I have laid out a comprehensive plan to do that.”
Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, said there was “no evidence of an international terrorism connection” to the incident in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan, where an “intentional” blast apparently was caused by an improvised explosive device on Sunday. But Cuomo said “a bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism”.
In her statement, Clinton said her plan to combat terrorism “includes launching an intelligence surge to help identify and thwart attacks before they can be carried out, and to spot lone-wolf attackers.”
“We also need to work with Silicon Valley to counter propaganda and recruitment efforts online,” she said. “Americans have faced threats before, and our resilience in the face of them only makes us stronger. I am confident we will once again choose resolve over fear.”


Yesterday, Republican nominee Donald Trump appeared to pre-empt New York City officials when he declared that a “bomb went off” in New York City before officials had released details.
Trump made the comments around 9.10 pm, shortly after the explosion in Manhattan’s crowded Chelsea neighbourhood and as emergency officials were responding to the blast.
“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what’s going on,” Trump said.
“It’s a terrible thing that’s going on in our world, in our country,” he added, “and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant. . . . We’ll see what it is. We’ll see what it is.”

Trump surrogate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended Trump’s comments.
“Well, listen, I don’t think you have to defer when saying that there was an explosion and a bomb in New York,” Christie said. “I mean, everybody knew that, and it was being reported on television. . . . So there’s a difference. Now, you shouldn’t attribute it to any particular organisation or group if you don’t have the facts or information to do that. But I think that what Donald did was perfectly appropriate.”
Christie said that he does not know who is responsible for the bombings in New York and New Jersey, but he does know what to call the attacks.
“You can call them whatever you want – they are terrorism, though,” Christie said on CNN. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re terrorism. Now, who’s responsible and what the motive was is something else that, hopefully, we’re going to find out in the days ahead.”
Republican running-mate Governor Mike Pence says “we’re all troubled in our hearts” about explosions in New Jersey and New York and a knife attack in Minnesota. Pence says that whether the incidents were acts of terrorism or inspired by terrorists, “prayer and vigilance is the order of the day”.
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